We learned fairly quickly while travelling in the Philippines that we absolutely love Filipino food. From our first meal and our first bite (well spoonful as it was a soup) of the cuisine, we knew we had found another destination to add to our list of culinary delights. Though Carolann had grown up eating Filipino food during regular visits to one of her best friend’s houses, there is something different about being immersed and surrounded by the cuisine. The flavours are purer when one can find and use the traditional ingredients, as is not often the case when trying to recreate dishes from products purchased at your own local grocery store or market an ocean away.
We came home with a list of dishes we wanted to make sure to incorporate into our cooking arsenal as well as a new food vocabulary to take with us when trying out Filipino restaurants near our home. One of those dishes was Chicken Adobo or adobo manok.
Adobo is actually the cooking technique used to make this dish so you can prepare other proteins using this recipe, like pork. Adobo is also a term that’s used in other cuisines, such as Spanish or Caribbean, so you’ll probably hear it if you travel to those areas, though it means something different in each.
Since it’s basically the unofficial national dish of the Philippines, it’s a good place to start your culinary journey into Filipino food. It’s also a great dish to make any time as it’s a fairly uncomplicated and quick recipe that involves many staples and basics you probably already have stocked in your kitchen.
How To Make The Best Chicken Adobo
We usually use both drumsticks and thighs and will often modify the recipe depending on how “saucy” we are feeling (see optional directions and tips within the recipe).
We also love to serve our baked green bean fries recipe with the chicken adobo since the green beans add a layer of texture and crunch to the meal. Whatever sides you choose though, and however you decide to finalize the sauce, this dish is always well-received!
- 8 pieces of chicken (bone-in) – works best with thighs or drumsticks (or both!)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4-5 cloves of garlic crushed or shredded extremely thin
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- Put the chicken (we leave the skin on) in a large resealable plastic bag along with vinegar, soy sauce, 2 Tbsp sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves and water.
- Shake to mix marinade and coat the chicken and reseal. Refrigerate for minimum 2 hours (can be left overnight)
- Pour contents of bag into a large pot or Dutch oven and make sure the chicken is layered individually. Bring to a boil before turning to low and allowing to cook. Turn chicken every so often until it is tender and cooked through – approximately 25 minutes
- Line a baking sheet with foil, place oven rack to top position and preheat broiler
- Transfer chicken to baking sheet and broil in oven until slightly browned (approx 3 minutes) before flipping and repeating on other side. Transfer to a shallow bowl.
- As chicken is cooking, increase heat of the remaining contents of the pot and bring to a boil
- Add 1 tsp of remaining sugar and bring to a boil.
- Cook until reduced – you can leave it at a slightly thickened liquid for a sauce, strain it and pour over chicken in the bowl.
- Optional: You can reduce further to almost a glaze-like consistency OR modify the marinade before cooking by leaving out the water from the plastic bag initially. This will allow an even thicker glaze to be produced at the end but may impact the tenderness of the chicken during the cooking process.
- Sprinkle chopped green onion over the chicken and sauce in the bowl and serve with mashed potatoes or rice and your choice of sides.
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